Saturday 24 February 2018

Labour party politician considers another vote against Government on abortion

Anne Ferris
Anne Ferris
Niall O'Connor

Niall O'Connor

A Labour party politician says she is considering voting against the Government once again on the controversial issue of abortion.

Wicklow TD Anne Ferris, who previously lost the whip over this issue, said she believes there is a grave need to repeal the Eighth Amendment of the constitution.

But she said the bill before the Dail today, which has been tabled by left wing TD Ruth Coppinger, “cannot legally survive outside of the House”.

Ms Ferris lost the whip previously after voting against the Government on a bill which proposed to allow abortions in cases of fatal foetal abnormalities.

She told the Dail today that while she will not oppose the bill when it is put to a vote on Tuesday, she may decide to abstain.

The Government was strongly criticised today as being 'anti-women' over the current laws governing abortion.

Independent TD for Waterford John Halligan raised the issue of rape victims who are denied the right to access abortion services in this jurisdiction.

“If you were confronted by your wife, daughter or mother that was raped would you insist on her going through with the pregnancy?” Mr Halligan said.

Fianna Fail Health spokesperso Billy Kelleher said a commission should be set up by the Government to examine the issues associated with abortion law.

In his speech, Health Minister Leo Varadkar said that while he believes the current laws are too restrictive, Ms Coppinger’s bill offers no protections for the rights of the unborn.

“I do not want it to be an election or pre-election issue. It needs to be dealt with sensitively,”Mr Varadkar said.

“What I believe is required now is a considered and careful public debate to find a consensus,” he added.

The bill is due to be voted upon on Tuesday. The Government has decided to oppose it.

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